Klaus Moeltner

Professor

Expertise:

Education

Ph.D. Economics, University of Washington, 2000

M.A. Economics, University of Washington, 1998

M.A. International Policy Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, 1994

M.S. Environmental Planning & Engineering,

University of Agriculture and Forestry, Vienna, Austria, 1990

Overview

Dr. Moeltner is an expert in environmental economics, specifically the valuation of natural resources and amenities, and related econometric methods. He has worked on recreation demand, wildfire smoke and health, urban water use, valuation of wetlands, and housing market studies involving risks of coastal flooding, watershed restoration, and the effects of forest damage. He has published over 40 articles and several book chapters, and contributed to over $3 million in grants as PI or Co-PI. He serves as a co-editor, editorial board member, and reviewer for leading journals in the field.

Dr. Moeltner is a member of several interdisciplinary research groups at Virginia Tech, such as the Global Change Center, the Coastal Resilience Group, the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program in Remote Sensing, and Interfaces of Global Change. He also currently serves as the Graduate Program Director for AAEC.

Current Research Projects

The economic benefits of improving water quality in large-scale river systems

We use new survey methodology and online labor markets to find out how people value better water quality throughout a large watershed in the Northeast, and if these values are sensitive to the type of policy interventions that bring about the improvements. Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Econometric innovation: Bayesian logit model with variable uncertainty.

 

Coastal flood hazards and Northeast housing values

We examine the impact on property values of being located in a high-risk coastal flood zone along the New England seaboard. We also take a closer look at the effect of human-made protective structures, such as seawalls, on home values. Funded by the Northeast Sea Grant Consortium.

Econometric innovation: Bayesian matching methods.

Publications:

Johnston, R., K. Moeltner, (published online Jan. 2019). Special Flood Hazard Effects on Coastal and

Interior Home Values: One Size Does Not Fit All, Environmental and Resource Economics.

 

Nonlinear Meta-regression for Benefit Transfer

Government agencies such as the EPA use primarily existing studies and a prediction approach labeled "Benefit Transfer" to inform future clean air and water policies. However, existing BT models do not satisfy basic axioms of economic theory, such as the adding-up conditions (total societal benefit from a policy should not be sensitive to the number of incremental steps in which the policy is implemented). We developed a new Bayesian econometric model that satisfies this and other fundamental theoretical conditions. We illustrate our approach using a meta-dataset on water quality improvements in rivers and lakes, as well as another set on changes in wetland acreage over large regions.

Econometric innovation: Bayesian Nonlinear Meta-regression (BNLM).

Publications:

Moeltner, K., (2019). Bayesian Nonlinear Meta Regression for Benefit Transfer, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 93, 44-62.

 

Urban stream restoration and property values

We examine if watershed restoration projects in the Portland, OR, area have impacted the value of nearby residential properties, using innovative econometric matching methods. Funded by USDA / NIFA. Econometric innovation: Bayesian matching methods.

Publications:

Jarrad, M., N.R. Netusil, K. Moeltner, A.T. Morzillo, J.A. Yeakley (2018). Urban Stream Restoration

Projects: Do Project Phase, Distance, and Type Affect Nearby Property Sale Prices? Land

Economics, 94, 368-385

 

Households' vulnerability to power outages and attitudes towards an expanded power grid

For a large sample of European households we examine their willingness-to-pay to avoid power outages, as well as their willingness to accept electricity-related infrastructure near their residence. We project how these values and attitudes might evolve in light of climate change. Funded by the European Union and the Province of Upper Austria.

Econometric innovation: Bayesian Recursive Multivariate Probit.

Publications:

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (2018). Valuing Electricity-dependent Infrastructure: An Essential-input Approach, Energy Economics, 73, 258-273.

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (2018). Effect of Global Warming on Willingness-to-pay for Uninterrupted Electricity Supply in European Nations, Nature Energy, 3, 37- 45.

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (2016). Linking the Value of Energy Reliability to the Acceptance of Energy Infrastructure: Evidence from the EU, Resource and Energy Economics, 45, 124 -143.

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (2016). An Empirical Analysis of Local Opposition to new Transmission Lines across the EU-27, Energy Journal, 37(3), 59-82.

 

Optimal labor contracts for online workers

We collaborate with remote sensing experts to hire online workers via Amazon's Mechanical Turk workplace to interpret satellite images for clouds and cloud shadow. This will help foresters identify untainted images suitable for further analysis of forest health and change over time. Funded by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Publications:

Yu , L., S. B. Ball, C. E. Blinn, K. Moeltner, S. Peery, V.A. Thomas, R. H. Wynne (2015). CloudSourcing: Using an Online Labor Force to Detect Clouds and Cloud Shadows in Landsat Images. Remote Sensing, 7(3), 2334-2351

 

Forest pests and home values

Much of the American West is impacted by explosive populations of the native Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB), and resulting large-scale damage to forestlands. Our research focuses on the impact of diseased trees on home values, and how sensitive these values are to errors in geocoding of properties and in localized damage assessment via aerial detection surveys.

Methodological innovation: Repeated-sales model with translating commodities.

Publications:

Cohen, J., C. Blinn, K. Boyle, T. Holmes, K. Moeltner (2016). Hedonic Valuation with Translating Commodities: Mountain Pine Beetles and Host Trees in the Colorado Front Range. Environmental and Resource Economics, 63(3), 613-642

 

Residential outdoor water use

In several ongoing projects in the Reno, NV, area we examine the impact of outdoor watering policies on households' compliance and water use, controlling for peer effects and length of residence. Future efforts will take a closer look at the role of Home Owners' Organizations (HOAs) on water use and conservation. Funded by local water utilities.

Publications:

Vinoles, V., K. Moeltner, S. Stoddard (2015). Length of Residency and Water Use in an Arid Urban

Environment, Water Resources and Economics, 12(Oct.), 52-66

Castledine, A., K. Moeltner, M.K. Price, S. Stoddard (2014), Free to Choose: Promoting Conservation by Relaxing Outdoor Watering Restrictions. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 107(A), 324-343

Courses Taught

  • AAEC/ECON 5126 - Empirical Economics, (second semester of PhD econometrics sequence)
  • AAEC 6524 - Environmental Economic Theory and Policy
  • AAEC/ECON/STAT 6564 - Bayesian Econometric Analysis

Other Teaching and Advising

  • Current Chair for 2 Ph.D. dissertations
  • Current committee member for 7 Ph.D. committees
  • Current committee member for 1 M.S. committee

 

Experience

Academic Employment

  • Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech (Current)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech (2011-2015)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno (2006 –2010)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno (2000 - 2006)

Other Professional Experience

  • Visiting Scholar, Luskin Center for Innovation, School of Public Affairs, UCLA (Aug-Dec. 2010)
  • Visiting Instructor, Free University, Amsterdam (Dec. 2009)
  • Visiting Instructor, University of Innsbruck (June 2008, 2009)
  • Technical specialist, World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1994-1996

Awards

2018 Best Paper Award, Virginia Association of Economists (VAE)

Best paper published in Environmental and Resource Economics during 2014, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE)

Advisor, best Master's Thesis 2014 (by Jed Cohen), Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA)

 

Selected recent publications

Johnston, R., K. Moeltner, (published online Jan. 2019). Special Flood Hazard Effects on Coastal and Interior Home Values: One Size Does Not Fit All, Environmental and Resource Economics.

Moeltner, K., (2019). Bayesian Nonlinear Meta Regression for Benefit Transfer, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 93, 44-62.

Moeltner, K., K. Spears, L. Yu (2019). Breakfast at School: A First Look at the Role of Time and Location for Participation and Nutritional Intake, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 101, 39-57.

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (2018).  Valuing Electricity-dependent Infrastructure: An Essential-input Approach, Energy Economics, 73, 258-273.

Jarrad, M., N.R. Netusil, K. Moeltner, A.T. Morzillo, J.A. Yeakley (2018). Urban Stream Restoration Projects:  Do Project Phase, Distance, and Type Affect Nearby Property Sale Prices? Land Economics, 94, 368-385.

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (2018).  Effect of Global Warming on Willingness-to-pay for Uninterrupted Electricity Supply in European Nations, Nature Energy, 3, 37-45.

Pekka-Kuusela, O., G. Amacher, K. Moeltner (2017).  Enforcing the Rules in Timber Concessions: Performance Bonding in the Presence of Corruption Risk, Forest Policy and Economics, 85, 52-64

Moeltner, K., C. Blinn, T. Holmes (2017).  Forest Pests and Home Values: The Importance of Accuracy in Damage Assessment and Geocoding of Properties, Journal of Forest Economics, 26, 46-55,

Cohen, Jed J. & Moeltner, Klaus & Reichl, Johannes & Schmidthaler, Michael, 2016. "Linking the value of energy reliability to the acceptance of energy infrastructure: Evidence from the EU," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 124-143.

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (2016). An Empirical Analysis of Local Opposition to new Transmission Lines across the EU-27, Energy Journal, 37(3), 59-82.

Cohen, J., C. Blinn, K. Boyle, T. Holmes, K. Moeltner (2016). Hedonic Valuation with Translating Commodities: Mountain Pine Beetles and Host Trees in the Colorado Front Range. Environmental and Resource Economics, 63(3), 613-642 

Vinoles, V., K. Moeltner, S. Stoddard (2015). Length of Residency and Water Use in an Arid Urban Environment, Water Resources and Economics, 12(Oct.), 52-66 

Yu , L., S. B. Ball, C. E. Blinn, K. Moeltner, S. Peery, V.A. Thomas, R. H. Wynne (2015). CloudSourcing: Using an Online Labor Force to Detect Clouds and Cloud Shadows in Landsat Images. Remote Sensing, 7(3), 2334-2351 

Castledine, A., K. Moeltner, M.K. Price, S. Stoddard (2014), Free to Choose:  Promoting Conservation by Relaxing Outdoor Watering Restrictions. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 107(A), 324-343 

Johnston, R., K. Moeltner, (2014). Meta-Modeling and Benefit Transfer: The Empirical Relevance of Source-Consistency in Welfare Measures. Environmental and Resource Economics. 59, 337-361 

Moeltner, K, R.S. Rosenberger, (2014). Cross-Context Benefit Transfer: A Bayesian Search for Information Pools. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 96(2), 469-488 

Moeltner, K, M.K. Kim, E. Zhu, W. Yang, (2013). Wildfire Smoke and Health Impacts: A Closer Look at Fire Attributes and their Marginal Effects. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 66(3), 476--496 

Kobayashi, M., K. Moeltner, K. Rollins, (2012). Latent Thresholds Analysis of Choice Data under Value Uncertainty. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 94(1), p. 189-208

Moeltner K., R. von Haefen, (2011).  Microeconometric Strategies for Dealing with Unobservables and Endogenous Variables in Recreation Demand Models.  Annual Review of Resource Economics, 3, p.375-396

Dekker T., R, Brouwer, M. Hofkes, K. Moeltner, (2011). The Effect of Risk Context on the Value of a Statistical Life: A Bayesian Meta-model. Environmental and Resource Economics, 49, p.597-624

Moeltner, K., J. S. Shonkwiler, (2010). Intercept and Recall: Examining Avidity Carryover in On-Site Collected Trip Reports. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 15(7), p.418-427

Davis A., K. Moeltner, (2010). Valuing the Prevention of an Infestation: The Threat of the New Zealand Mud Snail in Northern Nevada. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 39 (1), p.56-74.

Moeltner, K., R. Johnston, R. S. Rosenberger, J. M. Duke, (2009). Benefit Transfer from Multiple Contingent Experiments: A Flexible Two Step Model Combining Individual Choice Data with Community Characteristics. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 91 (5), p. 1335-42.

Moeltner, K., R. Woodward (2009). Meta-Functional Benefit Transfer for Wetland Valuation: Making the Most of Small Samples. Environmental and Resource Economics, 42 (1), p. 89-109.

Moeltner, K., R. S. Rosenberger (2008), Meta-Regression and Benefit Transfer: Data Space, Model Space, and the Quest for 'Optimal Scope'. B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 8 (1), Contributions.

Moeltner, K., K.J. Boyle, R. W. Paterson (2007). Meta-Analysis and Benefit-Transfer for Resource Valuation: Addressing Classical Challenges with Bayesian Modeling. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 53 (2), p.250 – 269.

Curtis, K. R., K. Moeltner, (2007). Consumer Risk Perception and Purchase Propensity for Genetically Modified Foods in Romania. Agribusiness. 23 (2), p. 263-278.

Curtis, K. R., K. Moeltner, (2006). Genetically Modified Food Market Participation and Consumer Risk Perceptions: A Cross-Country Comparison. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 54(2), p. 289-310.

Englin, J. E., J. McDonald, K. Moeltner, (2006). Valuing Ancient Forest Ecosystems: An Analysis of Backcountry Hiking in Jasper National Park. Ecological Economics. 57, (4), p. 665-678.

 

Book Chapters

Cohen, J., K. Moeltner, J. Reichl, M. Schmidthaler (2016). Electricity Supply Security, Service Valuation and Public Perception of Energy Infrastructures, in Protecting Electricity Networks form Natural Hazards, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), p.36-44. 

K. Moeltner (2015).  Optimal Scope and Bayesian Model Search in Benefit Transfer, in Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values:  A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners, R. J. Johnston, J. Rolfe, R. S. Rosenberger, and R. Brouwer, eds., Springer Publishing.

K. Moeltner, J. J. Murphy,  J. K. Stranlund, and M.A. Velez (2011).  Institutional Heterogeneity in Social Dilemma Games: A Bayesian Examination, in Handbook on Experimental Economics and the Environment, J. List and M. Price, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing.

Layton, D. F., K. Moeltner (2005). The Cost of Power Outages to Heterogeneous Households - An Application of the Gamma-Lognormal Distribution,  in Applications of Simulation Methods in Environmental and Resource Economics, R. Scarpa and A. Alberini, eds., Springer Publishing, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Klaus Moeltner
  • (540) 231-8249
  • moeltner@vt.edu
  • 250 Drillfield Dr.
    312 Hutcheson Hall
    Blacksburg, VA 24061